Published: July 20, 2021
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy Thomaston Place Auction Galleries
THOMASTON, MAINE – After a very active auction weekend, Kaja Vellieux and his staff at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries were all very tired, but happy with the overall sale results. The top lot of the three-day, “splendor-full” summer auction weekend, July 9-11, came on day two among an array of Seventeenth Century Old Master paintings and Nineteenth Century fine art when an 1878 gouache on board painting by William Trost Richards (1833-1905) tripled its high estimate to sell for $36,270 against an estimate of $8/12,000. “Rocky Coastline,” signed lower right and dated 1878, was presented in a water gilt frame liner with artist name tag, 29½ by 43¼ inches.
The “Splendid, Part I” sale produced solid results across all three days and item categories. It marked the welcome return of live in-house bidders, and there were 750 phone and absentee bids and more than 1,685 active online participants from 38 countries, driving the series to its final gross of just under $2 million.
Thomaston Place auctioneer and president Kaja Veilleux said, “It was wonderful to see live bidders back in our gallery, and the sustained in-house and online enthusiasm energized our team throughout the auction. Many auction items greatly outperformed our presale expectations.”
Fine art drove most of the action, accounting for more than half of sales. In addition to the top-selling Richards, many other works of art also attracted strong bidder interest, including “Study for Church Bells Ringing on a Rainy Night,” a graphite on paper work by Charles Burchfield (1893-1967), which sold for $30,000; an oil on canvas still life painting by Severin Roesen (1816-1872) that realized $28,080; a pencil and blue wash on oaktag paper titled “A Standing Nude Woman, an Angel” by Auguste Rodin (French, 1840-1917) that soared to $23,400 against an estimate of $5/7,000, and “Running Seas,” an oil on Masonite work by Frederick Judd Waugh (1861-1940) that fetched $23,400. An Old Master painting by Francesco Trevisani (Italian, 1656-1746) depicting the martyrdom of St Lawrence, also impressed, with spirited bidding lifting it to $17,550.
Other fine art home runs registered on the first day were a Grand Tour Philippines landscape by Soriano that hit $9,600 against a $600/800 estimate and “American Beauty in Red Hat Donning Gloves,” circa 1915, by Guy Hoff (1889-1962) that rose to $9,000 on ten bids from its $1,5/1,800 expectation. The Soriano depicted a native village beneath the volcanic cone of Mount Mayon in the Philippines. The oil on academy board, circa 1890, was signed lower right “V. Soriano” and measured 11¾ by 17¾ inches. Hoff, who is known for his “pretty women” portraits, was trained at the Art School of the Albright Gallery in Buffalo, N.Y., and the Art Students League in New York City. He painted seven covers for The Saturday Evening Post.
On the third day there was more notable fine art with Eric Sloane’s (1905-1985) “Bridge Over the Ashuelot, N.H.,” oil on hardboard, captioned and signed lower left, depicting the iconic covered bridge still standing in the New Hampshire river town of the same name. Fetching $22,230, it depicted a young brother and sister fishing while a dog watches. A painting attributed to Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988), an untitled head, oil stick on paper laid to masonite, unsigned, identified with title and date of 1982 on Andre Emmerich Gallery of NYC label verso, was housed in fancy gilt frame. It realized $19,890. And poppies, rendered in watercolor on paper, signed lower left by Childe Hassam, dated 1928 on shipping label verso, sold at the top of its estimate for $18,720.
Chinese ceramics were among the auction’s strongest performers, including a large pair of Chinese pottery foo dogs in sancai glaze that sold for $30,000; a Ming dynasty Zhangzhou Swatow vase with iron red and cobalt blue writhing dragons that brought $27,000; a crackle glaze Chinese vase in French gilded bronze mounts that achieved $21,000; and a Chinese hexagonal lidded urn that also raised $21,000.
Items from the sale’s marine and folk art category were actively pursued. A circa 1890 cased half hull model of the SS Andria sold for $18,000; a full-body cow weathervane brought $12,000; a circa 1810 French prisoner-of-war model of a Royal Navy ship took $11,700; a full-body pig weathervane made $9,360; an American eagle weathervane attributed to A.L. Jewell & Co., was $9,360; and a Nineteenth Century hollow-body copper dragon roof ornament, also finished at $9,360.
There were choice silver lots. A Georg Jensen five-light candelabrum reached $16,800; a Tiffany & Co. oval lidded tureen with boar’s head lid finial realized $7,020; and an early German 812-silver lidded pokal cup with Roman Centurion-form finial and intricate repousse decoration brought $5,400.
Additional highlights included an Art Deco ruby bead and diamond bracelet that fetched $16,380; a circa 1730 pocket sundial by Johann Martin Lillebrand in its original leather case that garnered $13,200; a Tiffany Studios Abalone linenfold bronze table lamp that earned $9,945; a Steinway Model M grand piano that went out at $8,775; a Vistosi Murano glass Pulcini bird sculpture that flew to $8,190; an art glass Peacock feather vase incised “L.C.T.” that finished at $7,605; and an early Twentieth Century Tiffany Furnaces enameled bronze picture frame that sold for $5,850.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. The next Thomaston Place Auction Galleries fine art and antiques feature auction, “Splendid – Part II,” will take place on August 27, 28 and 29. For information, 207-354-8141 or www.thomastonauction.com.
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